Category: CIS News

APR Class Prepares Students for “the New Normal” of Live Entertainment

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, the streaming platform Twitch was quickly growing as an advertising market. The service had 127 million unique viewers worldwide in 2019 and was poised to continue to grow in 2020.

Then the pandemic happened, and shelter in place regulations led many people to join Twitch for the first time, while still more turned up their streaming numbers. According to TwitchTracker, since late February, users have broadcast over 200 billion hours of footage. For reference, that’s 230,000 years of footage.

NASCAR, the NBA and Major League Baseball have also leaned heavily into Twitch for content, with the latter showcasing one player from all 30 teams playing “The Show 20” in what they called “The Players’ League.” During last week’s finals, the Rays’ Blake Snell, an active Twitch user, defeated Lucas Giolito of the White Sox. ESPN broadcasted an NBA 2K tournament with active NBA players, which was won by the Suns’ Devin Booker.

Started in 2011, Twitch has experienced exponential growth over the past nine years as a video game streaming platform, but in the last few years, the service has expanded to include live events, original programming and an entire new market to be targeted by advertising, marketing and public relations professionals. As such, the College has been teaching students ways to utilize Twitch for two years in advertising and public relations instructor Randall Huffaker’s APR 490 class, a special topics course.

“It’s really about the content marketing,” said Huffaker. “Twitch is just the platform. It allows you to create whatever you want to create. It’s not about gaming, gaming is just one piece of it.”

In the class, students get hands-on experience operating a branded Twitch channel, including streaming video gameplay, but also live entertainment and original content. In March, Encore, the live music program from the department of journalism and creative media, was live-streamed on Huffaker’s class’s Twitch channel.

The best way to prepare for this kind of new platform is for students to be hands-on. This allows them to control content, analyze metrics for what works, and adjust as needed. Simulations can only tell part of the story and will leave students short-changed at the end. More than that, students can follow passion projects and create whatever content they want to share with the audience.

“More and more industry experts see Twitch as more than a video game streaming service, they see it as a place to share ideas,” Huffaker said. An example Huffaker shared was a man in China who, at 4 o’clock in the morning, was sharing his religion to an audience of 400,000 people.

This is a global shift. In the United States, Twitch’s overall content is 95 percent gaming-focused. Outside of the United States, gaming only makes up 5 percent of Twitch’s content. For the other 95 percent outside the U.S., Twitch is an interactive forum to learn together and teach other people about personal interests. That’s the focus of Huffaker’s class.

“The hardest thing so far is trying to have a structure where they’re always creating stuff. It doesn’t just have to be gaming,” Huff said, focusing on the content marketing component. “When you get a steady mix of kids, you get them interested in many different things.”

Each semester, gaming makes up less of the class content. In his first semester teaching this class, Huffaker said it was all gaming. Now, three semesters later, it’s down to 80 percent. Original content topics have ranged from live music to college success tips to breakdowns of the latest episode of “The Bachelor.” The goal is for students to find a passion and build and nurture their own audience.

Huffaker wants to see the class continue to grow on campus. As a special topics class, Huffaker’s class is open to all of campus, including current students from engineering and health and human services. One area he’d like to see the Twitch channel expand is with the University Athletics Department, showing programs like The Nick Saban Show, or sports like wheelchair basketball, hockey and women’s soccer.

“People want to see content,” Huffaker said. Word is spreading on campus about the class, partly due to Huffaker’s efforts to spread the word and partner with other organizations and departments, and people are joining to build their own brands and create.

“I try to avoid lectures, outside of the first few weeks of class,” Huffaker said. “I just want them to create. It’s just up to them to find that passion and go to work.”

In the absence of traditional sports, many people around the world have turned to Twitch for entertainment and content, and the platform has garnered a much bigger audience, which in turn has led to more sponsors and a greater platform for future marketers. Twitch provides opportunities for both content creators and public relations professionals and marketers to reach a wider audience. Thanks to the dedicated C&IS faculty staying ahead of industry trends, students will be prepared to thrive in the world of “the new normal.”

Minerva Student Team Wins Young Ones Bronze Pencil

A student team from The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS) has been awarded a Bronze Pencil Award from the One Club’s Young Ones competition.

The team includes C&IS students Ramsey Chandler, Isabella Hardt, Blake Rozas and Rachel Williams, and is the second team from C&IS to win a Young Ones Bronze Pencil in the past four years.

“A ton of dedication and effort goes into making something that can compete at this exceptionally high level,” said Mark Barry, assistant professor of advertising and public relations and director of Minerva, the creative advertising specialization at C&IS. “I’m incredibly proud of all the students who entered work in the Young Ones competition this year and am excited to be able to celebrate their hard work like this. Every one of our teams entered smart, well-executed campaigns, and I’m thrilled that the Burger King team won a pencil. It’s a huge win for these young advertising creatives.”

The Young Ones is an international student creative competition put on by The One Club for Creativity in New York. According to Barry, a pencil award from The One Club is one of the most prestigious awards in advertising, similar to winning an Oscar in the film industry.

For this year’s competition, the One Club issued eight client briefs. UA’s winning student team selected the brief for Burger King, which asked for a memorable campaign that uses digital coupons, targeting 18- to 24-year-olds. For this brief, only seven campaigns were awarded pencils (one gold, three silver, three bronze).

“Once we got the brief back in January, we knew that we wanted to create a campaign that really stood out,” said Isabella Hardt. “After extensive research into all things Burger King, we came across a petition against Burger King and saw the opportunity right in front of us.”

The team spent countless hours poring through Reddit threads, Facebook posts and any tweets mentioning Burger King. They stumbled upon a petition launched by the organization One Million Moms which is a division of the American Family Association, a self-identified “pro-family organization.” The petition urged Burger King to edit or remove an advertisement that contained the word “damn” in a customer’s response to the Impossible Whopper.

This petition gave the students an idea. Their concept would let Burger King customers purchase a “Free-Speech Whopper” through the company’s mobile app. With their purchase, they would be able to name their Whopper whatever they wanted. Customers would order a “____ Whopper” and a portion of the proceeds would go to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Click here to view the team’s submission.

“A year ago, I had a chance to go to the Young Ones award show and the one thing that became apparent was how it was the same few schools that won every award,” said Blake Rozas. “We wanted to prove that creativity isn’t limited to portfolio schools. Sometimes, a group of four undergrads in Tuscaloosa can compete and win.”

The One Club released a list ranking the participating institutions based on their teams’ performance in the Young Ones competition. Most of the schools on the list are either private, international or independent portfolio schools. The University of Alabama is the second-highest ranked public university (Kean University, New Jersey).

Other campaigns submitted by Minerva students are listed below.

Greatness Has No Gender
The North Face
Carolyn Crane, Cori Greenfield, Kiley Bolyard, Katie Merifield
https://vimeo.com/405232151

Do It For The Cheers
Michelob Ultra
Emily Charbonneau
https://charboncopy.com/michelobe-ultra

BLay’s
Lay’s
Claire Sweeney, McKenzie Woodall
https://vimeo.com/398654261

Spotify Mixtape
Spotify
Bentley Harden, Rachel Williams, McKenzie Woodall
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMuVID608ZY

Hidden History

Miller Genuine Draft 
Callie Earles, Anna Dodson, Caroline Green, Carly D’Alto
https://vimeo.com/416173792

Minerva is the creative advertising specialization and portfolio program at The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. For more information on Minerva, visit uaminerva.com. To learn more about C&IS, visit cis.ua.edu.

Brinson and Holiday Study the Effects of TV Advertising on Children

The Child and Family Media Lab in Reese Phifer Hall is an engaging space for researchers to observe, interact and study the reactions and responses of children to various forms of media

 

Our world is increasingly surrounded by advertising—on billboards, internet pop-ups, radio, television and even online games—all to keep consumers constantly abreast of the goods and services that will simplify their lives or satisfy their needs. Children born today will never know anything different than being constantly followed by advertisers everywhere they go, but how do these ads affect children? Are they more vulnerable to an ad’s persuasion tactics than adults? Are some media channels more persuasive than others? These are some of the questions two University of Alabama researchers are asking at C&IS.

Drs. Nancy Brinson and Steven Holiday are conducting a series of studies surrounding the topic of children and media. Brinson’s research interests include ad personalization and privacy, and Holiday’s research centers on the development of a consumer identity with a focus on children.

“We have to understand the real effects advertising has on children and how they actually develop deep relationships with brands and with products,” said Holiday. “Part of that is exploring those advertising effects and using their outcomes to create practical implications that might have to do with ethics or regulation.”

In a collaboration with The University of Alabama’s Center for Public Television, Brinson and Holiday created a series of customized advertisements intended to target particular interests and learning styles of their 3-to-12-year-old participants. They are now in the process of surveying the children to assess the effectiveness of these ads and how susceptible the children were to the ad’s messaging.

The duo utilizes the Institute for Communication and Information Research’s (ICIR) Child and Family Media Lab, located in Reese Phifer Hall. Furnished to look and feel similar to a family living room, the lab is an engaging space for researchers to observe, interact and study the reactions and responses of children to various forms of media using creative methods of communication such as dolls, interactive games and hand puppets.

“You have to be able to speak to them on their level and connect with them,” said Holiday. “Some of these children won’t communicate verbally when we begin the study. But we use hand puppets that will talk to them and put them at ease, and they will point or talk to the puppet who feels the same way they do about the ad.”

For Brinson, the susceptibility of children to advertisements is an issue of privacy and safety. Advertising agencies will soon be able to tailor customized TV advertisements for children based on the consumer profiles of their households as well as their previous online behaviors.

“Parents need to be aware that this is coming, that TV ads are not just going to be generic; they’re going to be targeted specifically to your child,” said Brinson. “Because of smart TVs and other connected devices, it’s no longer just one-way transmission from a broadcast tower. Advertisers using these new addressable TV technologies will be able to interact with you and your children, just like when you are using a computer.”

According to Brinson and Holiday, past research suggests that children are extremely susceptible to this kind of advertising, because they don’t have the experiences or development to understand that these messages are intended to persuade them. They are therefore more likely to respond positively to a message that speaks to them personally and understands their interests.

For Holiday, understanding how children respond to advertisements and learn from them can further his interest in producing pro-social advertisements that teach children principles of a healthy lifestyle, anti-bullying or safety. So, personalized advertising can be concerning, yes, but it can also be leveraged to communicate important messages to children that influence their social, moral and cognitive development.

The efforts of Brinson and Holiday continue a proud legacy of scholarship at The University of Alabama, where research conducted by Dr. Jennings Bryant established a national reputation in the field of child media. Bryant’s work with Sesame Street and The Electric Company was instrumental in shaping how television programming helps children learn.

The College of Communication and Information Sciences’ faculty and students at The University of Alabama conduct cutting-edge research that creates knowledge and provides solutions to global issues across the full communication and information spectrum. To learn more about the College’s research initiatives, visit cis.ua.edu/research.

2020 Holle Award Winners Announced

The College of Communication and Information Sciences has announced the winners of the 2020 Holle Awards for Excellence in Creativity and Communication.

The awards are designed to celebrate and reward student achievement in the areas of book arts, filmmaking, media writing, screenwriting and public speaking. Each of these awards include a $10,000 prize.

  • The Holle Award for Excellence in Book Arts was awarded to University of the Arts MFA student Maria Welch for her piece, “Erratic Obsession,” a multi-directional accordion structure with text sourced from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892) and Annie Payson Call’s “Nerves and Common Sense” (1909).
  • The Holle Award for Excellence in Filmmaking was awarded to University of Alabama student Magdalene Kennedy for “Losing Face,” a short film about a girl living in a self-contained world who learns how to get out of her own head.
  • The Holle Award for Excellence in Media Writing was awarded to The University of Alabama’s James Ogletree for his piece, “Josh Jobe Beats the Odds,” which chronicled the long journey for Crimson Tide cornerback Josh Jobe from Miami to Tuscaloosa.
  • The Holle Award for Excellence in Screenwriting was awarded to The University of Alabama’s Nick Stellon, a senior TCF major, for his work, “The Butcher and the Beast.” Judges praised the script, saying, “I could not stop thinking about this story. I write this four days after having first read this script, and this story would not leave me. I can’t think of a more original idea in recent memory.”

“The 2020 Holle Award winners are true exemplars in the field of communication ,” said Dr. Mark Nelson, dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences. “Students from all areas of the country compete for these awards and their talents are extraordinary. Brigadier General Everett Holle believed in supporting excellence in communication and creativity and these award winners represent his legacy well.”

This year, due to the coronavirus, the Holle Award for Excellence in Public Speaking is not being awarded.

The Holle Awards are named for Brigadier General Everett Hughes Holle, a 1950 graduate of The University of Alabama who served as an announcer, director, writer and producer during his 40-year career at NBC 13. Holle was a member of the College of Communication and Information Sciences’ board of visitors where he passionately invested in the success of University of Alabama students for years. In 2019, the Holle Family Foundation gave the largest donation in College history, part of which went towards funding the Holle Awards for Excellence in Creativity and Communication.

C&IS Student Finishes Second in Hearst Writing Competition

Journalism student James Ogletree has won second place in the 60th annual William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program. This outstanding achievement marks the highest finish ever for a student from the College of Communication and Information Sciences.

Ogletree, a senior journalism major from Virginia Beach, VA, who also serves as the sports editor for The Crimson White, wrote his story, “Tagovailoa Leaves Legacy of Family, Excellence and Selflessness,” after The University of Alabama’s star quarterback Tua Tagavailoa suffered a season-ending hip injury in November. The story focused on Tagavailoa’s legacy at UA.

Ogletree interviewed current UA football players and members of the sorority flag football team Tagavailoa coached, as well as other sources from UA Athletcis. Ogletree’s story was submitted to the program by journalism and creative media associate professor Scott Parrott and Office of Student Media associate director Mark Mayfield.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program is conducted under the auspices of accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and fully funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. The 14 monthly competitions consist of five writing, two photojournalism, one radio, two television and four multimedia, with championship finals in all divisions. The program awards up to $700,000 in scholarships and grants annually.

C&IS MA Student Wins AEJMC Thesis Award

Mark Mayfield, a Journalism Master of Arts student in the College of Communication and Information Sciences, was recently awarded the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s (AEJMC) Hazel Dicken-Garcia Award for his thesis, “At Home: Shelter Magazines and the American Life, 1890 to 1930.”

Mayfield, who will be joining the faculty of the department of journalism and creative media for the Fall semester, was advised in his thesis by Drs. Chris Roberts and Diane Bragg, as well as Dr. Rich Megraw from the University’s department of American studies.

“This thesis offers a rich look at a largely untouched medium, the shelter magazine, and it provides a solid foundation for future study,” AEJMC Thesis Committee Chairwoman Amy Lauters said. “Judges were particularly impressed with its originality and its contribution to the field of media history.”

A shelter publication is characterized by a focus on interior design, gardening and other home design elements. Mayfield comes from a background of shelter publications, having previously served as an editor-in-chief of three different publications – “House Beautiful,” “Traditional Home” and “Southern Accents.” At Bragg’s urging, he expanded a paper written in class to focus on the history of these publications.

“I wanted to try and add to the historical record, and also learn this history for myself,” Mayfield said. “Although I worked at shelter magazines in the past, I had little time in those days to go back and see what editors long before me had accomplished or how these magazines had influenced American life.”

The Hazel Dicken-Garcia Award is presented annually by AEJMC’s History Division and awards a master’s student for an outstanding thesis on a topic in mass communication history. Mayfield, Bragg and Roberts will be honored at the AEJMC Annual Conference in San Francisco on August 7.

Dr. Adam Brooks’ Advice for Suddenly Going Online

Dr. Adam Brooks (Communication Studies) is the Director of the Speaking Studio and Assistant Director of the Public Speaking Program at C&IS. Read below for his advice to students on making the sudden jump to online learning.

1. You are going to get a lot of emails. A lot.

You’re going to have to plan for how you respond to the deluge of having 5 courses that are all going to be required to communicate with you via email and to check in with you from time to time. The habit of checking your emails while you are doing other things is going to overwhelm you and make you feel like you are going to get something caught in the cracks.
Plan a path to managing your email.

Make a folder for each class and as emails come in for that class you can put them in that folder. Or you can set aside times each day when you are going to check your email from school and only open the emails when you have the time to respond to them. Either way make sure you put the emails where you can retrieve them from time to time.

2. You are going to need to plan for each class.

My suggestion is that you get a print calendar or planner and put the due dates for each assignment in your planner. Make a check list for each class similar to what I’ve given you for COM 123 and do that for the rest of your classes.

Each of your classes is likely to be set up differently, some will require you to do discussion posts, some will ask you to do zoom video conferences, some will ask for weekly check-ins, some will allow you to progress at your own speed. Do not expect coordination on this, instead prepare for different requirements and try to keep them all separate.

You need to bracket out when you are going to work on each class for each day of your week. Use your checklist of due dates to guide how you manage your time, but remember that you’ll need to spend time each day plugging away at some of your classes so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Swallow the frog. If you have the option of doing work asynchronously then I’d tackle the most difficult task first, then you can use the feeling of accomplishment to finish less onerous tasks. Or you can get the smaller things out of the way so you have time to take down the big stuff.

3. You are going to have to communicate more frequently than you did before.

If you are struggling you have to let someone know sooner rather than later. Did something happen that shaped your ability to do your work? We are all adjusting to new realities and the only way we can get through things is to communicate early and often.

4. Give grace.

Everyone is thrown into this last minute, we are all trying to do our best. I know you are doing the same. If something doesn’t work, or if there are issues try to be gracious to the people running things. At the same time, control what you can control, don’t put things off until the very last minute and you’ll get more help than you need.

5. You can do this.

We can do it together.

Building Your Own Beach Life: Mike Ragsdale

Mike and Angela Ragsdale (photo by Jacqueline Ward)

“I often have to force myself to put the work down and enjoy what brought us to the 30A community in the first place.”

Not everybody works a Monday-Friday, 8-5 corporate work week. C&IS alum Mike Ragsdale (B.A. in Communication Studies ’91 and M.A. in Advertising and Public Relations ’93) is the founder and CEO of the 30A Company, a beach community in Santa Rosa, Florida. His schedule has him sampling 30A cocktail recipes at distilleries in Kentucky one day and on a boat interviewing celebrities the next. As a ground-breaking entrepreneur, no day looks the same for Ragsdale, but one thing ties it all together: building his company has required lots of dedication and hard work, a trait he developed in his time at C&IS.

“I enjoyed the creative process, including copywriting and basic design. As a graduate teaching assistant, I managed the C&IS labs, learning a lot really fast, as it was my job to help so many other students with their assignments. That experience set the stage for my comfort level with an online world that would very soon flicker to life,” said Ragsdale.

During his time as a student, Ragsdale said that the most important lessons came from professors who had “side-hustles” going on. As a broke college student, he started doing freelance work to assist those professors and gain real-life experience outside of the College. This instilled in him an attitude of wanting to be the hardest worker in the room and an unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit.

“I coded tens of thousands of surveys. I designed charts for various textbooks books. I wrote newsletters,” he said. “Basically, I did whatever grunt work they needed done so I could pay my rent and have a little bar money on the side. And while the money was nice, it was that real-world work experience that taught me how to hustle and make things happen.”

In the world of entrepreneurship, there is no “typical” workday. Ragsdale works from home and starts his day watching the sun rise over the bay. To make the most out of his day, He tries to knock out as many tasks and emails as possible before any meetings or conference calls. He fills his afternoons with all of the fun aspects of his job, which can include anything from a photo shoot out on the beach, flying his drone over the Gulf looking for sharks, or just enjoying happy hour cocktails with friends at an old beach bar. These are just some of the benefits of being an entrepreneur.

“This job is really whatever you want to make it,” Ragsdale said.

“Keeping any business going is a daily challenge”, he said. “There are always deadlines, negotiations, cash flow issues… It’s never-ending. Being an entrepreneur is like strapping into a never-ending rollercoaster. It can be exhilarating, but it can also be scary, dizzying and nauseating.” With a typical 8-5 job, people have weekends off, get paid vacation and sick leave. This isn’t the case with entrepreneurs who carry a mental and financial weight with them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Aside from the pressure of working for yourself, there are many rewarding aspects of Ragsdale’s job. One story that reminds him of how he got to where he is and how important it is to have a connection to the coast is the story of a chance encounter at a conference.

“A few years ago, a man and his wife walked up to me at a local event and asked if I work for 30A (I was wearing a “30A” hat). When I told him I did, he shared the story of how he worked for a company in Alabama for 24 years. Reluctantly, his job forced him to move to Minnesota for the last six years before he retired, and he said it was the worst six years of his life. Thanks to our 30A page and our beach videos, he was able to stay in touch with his fantasy of one day moving to the coast, which he eventually did after retiring.” By spreading the message of 30A, Ragsdale inspires dreams in others and helps make them a reality, no matter where they are in the world.

Finding happiness is what motivates him, and international travel is one of the best ways to tap into an inner peace that only comes from living in the moment. Ragsdale and his wife, Angela, have visited 50 countries so far. “I’ve found I’m never happier than when my senses are overloaded with exotic new sights and sounds. When my mind is idle, I tend to worry a lot. But when I’m in some remote locale where everything is alien, it forces me to be present.”

“The stress of survival never leaves your mind,” said Ragsdale. Which makes his biggest challenge to practice what he preaches: Being happy. “I often have to force myself to put the work down and enjoy what brought us to the 30A community in the first place.”

Thank you, Mike Ragsdale!

 

Graduate Student Profile: Danielle Deavours

This story is one in a continuing series of C&IS graduate student spotlights. These spotlights give insight into the academic and professional lives of master’s and Ph.D. students as they advance knowledge in their respective fields of communication and information sciences. The questions serve to highlight the many aspects of the graduate student experience as well provide guidance for prospective students. To nominate a current C&IS graduate student for a spotlight, email Cole Lanier at mclanier@ua.edu

Danielle Deavours (B.A. in Telecommunications and Film ’08), a student in the Communication Studies Ph.D. program, discusses her time as a doctoral student. When she’s not teaching a JCM or APR class, you can find Deavours balancing motherhood with her five-year-old daughter, Skylar. Here is what she has to say about her experience in C&IS:

Tell us about your experience in graduate school.

I began my doctoral program at The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences in Spring 2019. I have enjoyed the experience of working not only as an instructor, but also as a media researcher. Being at The University of Alabama has allowed me to collaborate with some of the leading scholars in the field, a unique opportunity to help me grow academically and professionally.

What are some of the highlights during your time in graduate school?

I have had the opportunity to present my research at the International Communication Association, National Communication Association, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and Broadcast Education Association. I have also been honored to win creative awards at BEA’s Festival of the Arts and the Southern Public Relations Federation and was the recipient of the BEA’s Vincent T. Wasilewski award. Most recently I was chosen as one of twenty scholars from around the world to participate in the upcoming Knight Foundation funded PhDigital Bootcamp. This is a unique opportunity provided by the Media Innovation Lab to learn the latest emerging technologies.

What is your greatest accomplishment in graduate school?

In my first semester, I received top student paper for AEJMC’s Electronic News division and was a finalist out of the entire conference for the Professional Relevance Award. As someone who was unsure of my place as a media scholar and researcher, this was a defining moment for me to recognize that I had potential in the field.

I have been proud to represent C&IS, and I’m so thankful to the faculty and students that have helped along the way. 

What has been your greatest challenge?

Coming back to academia after working over a decade as a broadcast journalist and another five years in nonprofit communication is challenging. I also commute an hour to campus from my home in Pelham, AL, every day.

What advice do you have for students about to enter graduate school?

Develop goals for your program right from the beginning. When you know why you are there and what you hope to gain from the experience, you will be able to set your path more easily and be more motivated through the process. In addition, you should work to get to know as many faculty and other graduate students as possible, taking any opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the prestigious group of scholars and educators we have at C&IS.

Thank you, Danielle!

Baylor Journalism Chair to Headline 11th Annual Discerning Diverse Voices Symposium

The College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama (C&IS) is pleased to welcome Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, Chair of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media at Baylor University, as the keynote speaker for the 11th annual Discerning Diverse Voices Symposium.

Dr. Moody-Ramirez researches mass media representations of underrepresented groups, including women and minorities, and her keynote address will focus on the ways social media platforms have affected image repair in the digital age.

“While social media responses are not a replacement for true image restoration,” Dr. Moody-Ramirez said, “they provide a platform to help tackle tough issues that might aid in the image restoration process of an individual or a company.”

Joining Dr. Moody-Ramirez as presenters for the Symposium are professors, alumni, and graduate and undergraduate students from C&IS, presenting on diversity and inclusion topics, including race, cultural differences, mental health and social justice.

“Issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion affect us all,” said Dr. Suzanne Horsley, Assistant Dean of Accreditation, Assessment and Diversity for C&IS. “The goal of this symposium is to elevate the discussion of these topics and to help everyone be more mindful of these issues in their research, teaching and career pursuits.”

This year’s Symposium committee was co-chaired by Dr. Mary Meares (Communication Studies) and Dr. Diane Bragg (Journalism & Creative Media). The Symposium is open to the public and will be held Wednesday, March 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Gorgas Library 205.

C&IS is committed to promoting an environment that harbors diversity and inclusion and is proud to host the Discerning Diverse Voices Symposium. To view the full program, please click here.